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9780060163891 In his latest thriller, Thomas (Firefox) concocts a timely, believable situation. Soviet General Secretary Nikitin, influenced by his wife, Irena (whom he has named minister of commerce), is attempting to accommodate the wave of democracy sweeping his country. However, there are those in Russia and elsewhere who do not want to see peace prevail, and their cause is boosted when Irena's plane is shot down during a peace mission to Afghanistan and Nikitin reverts to a more conservative stance. At the same time that British spy Patrick Hyde finds that the aerial attack was the work of dissident Russian military officials and an American CIA agent, the lover of the niece of Sir Kenneth Aubrey, Hyde's superior, also discovers the plot, and is pursued by powerful forces. Aubrey attempts to unravel the conspiracy in England, leading at last to a confrontation near California's Lake Shasta. Thomas tends to overindulge in hyperbole, repetition and cryptic references. As a result, this novel is somewhat difficult going in the early stages, but pace and tension accelerate once the chase is on, and the denouement is stark and gripping. 75,000 first printing; $140,000 ad/promo; author tour. Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.